CELA lights the way for Lesly Gonzalez-Barragan

Lesly Gonzalez-Barragan ’20

In 2016, the College of Saint Benedict received the largest gift in our history: a $10 million commitment from an anonymous donor to create the Center for Ethical Leadership in Action (CELA). The gift permanently transformed the Saint Ben’s experience by providing opportunities for high-impact experiences that go far beyond the classroom, such as internships, mentoring, speakers, workshops, research, service learning, fellowships and studying abroad. These opportunities transform students into leaders. Just ask Lesly Gonzalez-Barragan ’20.

As a first-generation college student, Lesly knows a thing or two about overcoming obstacles and breaking down barriers. CELA has been a powerful tool for continuing her fight. With CELA’s help, she spent a summer interning for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul, specifically working with Latino and youth ministry.

“Organizations like the Archdiocese need a lot of help, but it is finances that limit them,” she observed. “The Center for Ethical Leadership in Action helped both the organization and myself to be able to work together without financial barriers. CELA has prepared me, trained me and inspired me to see and believe that there are always opportunities to help our communities in the way that we would like to do so.”